Utilities lose 9.5 percent of water to leaks | SummitDaily.com

Utilities lose 9.5 percent of water to leaks

DENVER ” Colorado utilities lose an average of 9.5 percent of the water they attempt to deliver, according to a Rocky Mountain News analysis.

The losses occur as utilities prod their customers to stop wasting water during the drought.

Dennis Gelvin, manager of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, the utility that serves Vail, said that for years it has been known that Vail’s system, built in the 1960s, loses a large amount of water. It had a loss rate of 35 percent at one percent.

Last summer, when ski resort began a multibillion-dollar makeover, dozens of illegal water hookups were found. Developers putting up buildings in the core village during the booming 1960s had tapped into Vail’s water system at will, taking water for free for decades and causing the utility’s loss rates to skyrocket.

Vail now has managed to reduce its water losses – known as unaccounted for water – to 20.7 percent of the total water delivered.

The rate is still high by industry standards.

“I’m a little embarrassed by the number,” Gelvin said, “but I’m not embarrassed about all the things we’re doing to fix the problem. Our board is very sensitive to this. We have to get it down . . . it’s just the right thing to do.”

American Water Works Association guidelines recommend that utilities keep water losses to less than 10 percent of the total water delivered, and six out of 10 of Colorado’s largest cities surveyed manage to meet the standard.

Colorado Springs has an 8 percent loss rate, Aspen and Westminster 2 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, and Glenwood Springs 20 percent. Denver Water, the state’s largest provider, loses about 4.6 percent.

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